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Blind cord dangers must be highlighted

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 24/05/2016

Bryan Henrique Saba died after his neck became caught in the cord of a blind in the living room of his home in Groban Street, Portadown
Bryan Henrique Saba died after his neck became caught in the cord of a blind in the living room of his home in Groban Street, Portadown

The death of two-year-old Bryan Henrique Saba, who was strangled when he caught his head in a window blind cord, shows us tragedy can strike in the most mundane environments.

There can be scarcely a home that does not have blinds of this type, yet how many of us really recognise that a dangling cord - often a magnet for an inquisitive child - could be a killer?

Three children have died in this tragic manner in Northern Ireland, and 26 in the UK as a whole.

The death of Bryan in Portadown was all the more poignant because he had just moved to the town with his father and other siblings.

There were warnings on the blinds of upstairs rooms in the house, but none of the family, who are originally from Guinea-Bissau in Africa and who had lived in Italy for 20 years, could read English.

The toddler had only wandered out of sight of his sister a few moments when disaster struck. A distraught elder brother had to run several hundred yards to where an aunt worked because none of the family could call the emergency services due to their lack of English.

Yet one can only admire the family in the wake of the tragedy as they gave permission for the child's organs to be used for transplant operations that saved the lives of other youngsters.

That was an astonishingly selfless act for a family that had experienced their worst nightmare in a strange new country.

After the inquest hearing into their son's death, the grieving family highlighted the danger in an attempt to prevent anyone going through a similar ordeal.

The coroner is also to raise the issue with the new Health Minister at Stormont to ensure the risks are recognised at the highest level.

These cords need not be potentially lethal. A quick search on the internet will reveal a range of clips and devices which can help avert disaster.

It is also possible to buy cords that snap when weight is placed on them.

Householders, especially those with young children, should examine the cords in their property and take steps to make them safe.

Fatalities may be rare, but as this sad case underscores, they do happen.

Spending just a few pounds could ensure that the cords do not pose any danger. This should not be too much to ask. After all, what price can one put on a child's life?

Belfast Telegraph

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